Located on the big Tennessee river’s shores, Decatur is a small town in Deep South with a turbulent history. Decatur is in the northern part of Alabama, and it has historical and natural landmarks. It is a place where satellite launching rockets are built, and tourists can enjoy southern hospitality and large festivals throughout the year.
If you are going on a road trip through the Southern states, halfway between Nashville and Birmingham is Decatur. European visitors must finish the USA ESTA application process, the easiest way to get into the US. A straightforward online process consists of answering a detailed set of questions. American administration takes around three days to process the application, after which you can explore the US for up to 90 days.
Decatur AL attractions
The town was incorporated in 1821, but all but four buildings were destroyed during the Civil War. Those left standing are among the biggest attractions in the city. The Old State Bank was built in 1833 as a branch of the Bank of the State of Alabama. Only 12 years later, the department closed, and since then, it had other uses. In 1976 it became a museum showcasing the antebellum era architecture and interior.
The Bank building is situated in the Old Decatur Historic District with the largest number of preserved Victorian-era buildings in the state. Lafayette Street has 1836 The Todd House, a Georgian house that was also spared in the Civil War.
Decatur is home to the Cook Museum of Natural History opened in 2019. A museum is an excellent place for a family visit with exhibits dedicated to paleontology, zoology, nature art, and geology. The museum has an aquarium, working beehive, and many other attractions and amenities.
If you are more into art, visit the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. The fine arts museum and the educational center hosts up to 10 exhibitions annually.
The Princes Theater dates back to 1887. It changed the purpose and looks, and now the Art Deco façade welcomes fans of live performing arts. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Places to eat in Decatur
The Railyard restaurant pioneered the movement of using local farm ingredients in their meals, focusing on Southern comfort food.
A synonym for the Decatur is Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-b-Que with tradition that dates back to 1925. The restaurant chefs have multiple awards from World Barbecue Championship, and it is known for its BBQ White Sauce.
In the Bank Street district, you can find Simp McGhee’s. The old-school cuisine with Cajun influences and a varied menu make this a perfect dining spot.
Parks in Decatur AL
Some of the best outdoor activities in the area can be found in Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, on a long stretch along the Tennesse River. The park attracts over 700,000 visitors annually with a diverse offer that includes wildlife watching, fishing, and hiking.
Delano Park is the town’s oldest public park dating back to the late 19th century. You can take photos on the famous concrete bridge and enjoy the Delano Rose Garden and large-scale Alabama map. There are also splash pad areas for kids and other park amenities.
Point Mallard Park is near Wheeler National Refugee and has an 18-hole Point Mallard Golf Course, a large J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center with a wave pool, diving tower, and water slides. Park also has outdoor and indoor sports venues.
Events in Decatur AL
For a relatively small town, Decatur hosts large festivals. The Alabama Jubilee is a giant hot air balloon race that attracts vast crowds of up to 100,000 people. The Spirit of America Festival has a similar status. One of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the south attracts around 65,000 visitors who, among others, want to see the Miss Spirit of America beauty pageant.
Racking Horse World Celebration attracts horses from around the world to Celebration Arena. The competition can draw up to 80,000 fans.
Live music, children’s activities, and large crowds gather at the Riverfest barbeque cook-off. The competition and events are held at Ingalls Harbor.
Make your Deep South itinerary plans on time, but make sure you check ESTA Visa status before making any plane or accommodation reservations. Once you get ESTA approval, you are eligible to enter the US for the next two years. Now it is time to make plans for your US visit, and Decatur is undoubtedly one of the worthy places to visit while going through Heart of Dixie state.
The town’s rich history is reflected in the historic architecture, especially in the Bank Street vicinity, where you can find some well-preserved antebellum buildings. A city is an excellent place for outdoor activities along the Tennesse River and Wheeler lake. You can find great restaurants and large festivals that attract huge crowds.